I confess that I am easily dissuaded by recipes requiring long lists of ingredients. I usually keep my marinades and seasonings simple. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Olive oil. Vinegars. Citrus. Some fresh garlic or minced onion.
I am not in the habit of creating marinades with nearly twenty ingredients. However, to create the depth of tropical flavor and sultry spice in this succulent Jerk Chicken recipe, it was unavoidable. In this case, the number of ingredients is deceiving complicated; most are spices and items we keep regularly stocked in the pantry and nearly all of them are tossed whole into a blender.
The jerk marinade can be made a day or two in advance; allowing the marinade to penetrate and tenderize the chicken. The day of, the chicken is simply placed in the oven an hour before serving, making this a great – and easy – weeknight dinner full of spice and bold flavor.
Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken
**Note: The spice level in this dish is highly variable and mostly determined by the type of chili peppers used. For a traditional, fiery heat, choose Scotch bonnet or Habañero chilis. If you prefer a more moderate spice, use Jalapeños or New Mexico Green chiles.
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chile powder
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbs fresh garlic, chopped
1 tbs fresh ginger, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 limes, juiced
3 scallions, sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2-4 chili peppers**, seeded and chopped
4 chicken thighs, skin-on
4 chicken legs, skin-on
1. Add all ingredients except for the chicken to a blender, and blend into a smooth paste.
2. Place chicken in a large plastic storage bag and cover with the jerk marinade. Let the chicken marinate overnight or up to two days.
3. On the day of: Preheat an oven to 400º F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil.
4. Remove the chicken from the bag and place skin-side up in the baking dish, leaving room between pieces.
5. Spread half of the jerk marinade liberally over the chicken, and discard the remainder. Bake for 30 minutes.
6. Carefully baste the chicken with the pan-drippings and marinade at the bottom of the pan. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife and the internal temperature registers 165º F. The jerk paste will be dark golden brown and crispy.
7. Serve immediately.